What Are the Pros and Cons of Bespoke Dress Shirts?

R. Stamm

The term “bespoke” is a British word which means a garment is custom-made to the buyer’s specifications. The obvious, primary positive aspect of owning a dress shirt produced in this manner is the custom fit. One of the negative aspects of these dress shirts is the length of time it takes to produce them.

Colored buttons can match or contrast with the fabric of a shirt.
Colored buttons can match or contrast with the fabric of a shirt.

Bespoke dress shirts are more common in the United Kingdom on Seville Row than in other parts of the world; they are most commonly applied to tailored clothing and men’s garments that are measured and fitted to a person’s body. Bespoke dress shirts differ in manufacturing methods from other items of clothing. Ready-to-wear shirts, or off-the-rack shirts, are factory-made using standard sizing methods and delivered to the store in finished condition. In the made-to-measure method of construction, the production of the shirt is from an adjusted block pattern providing the customer with a semi-custom fit. Bespoke dress shirts are not made in a factory, and the pattern is cut and drafted specifically for the customer.

Bespoke clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.
Bespoke clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.

There are several positive points to consider before having a bespoke dress shirt made, but the most noteworthy is the involvement of the end user in the production of the shirt. Since the shirts involve a high degree of customization, the customer has complete control over the type of fabric used in making the shirt. The client can also select the construction features of the shirt, such as buttonholes, collar styles, and cuff styles. The bespoke method provides the consumer with a high-quality, longer-lasting shirt than those available on the ready-to-wear market.

With that in mind, a person ordering a custom-made bespoke dress shirt must wait considerably longer for the end product. It may be difficult to find a tailor to make the shirts in some areas due to the methods used in constructing the garment. In addition, they are usually more expensive than dress shirts purchased off the rack. Depending on the fabric chosen, bespoke dress shirts may be prone to wrinkling and require more care than ready-wear shirts.

Certain standards are set forth by the Seville Row Bespoke Association in the construction of bespoke dress shirts. A pattern must be individually cut, and almost all of the sewing done on the shirt must be by hand. The tailor must be qualified to assist the customer with advice concerning the design and construction of the item. In addition, tailors must have access to a large selection of fabrics for the customer to choose from and attend special training seminars in construction methods.

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Discussion Comments


I, for one, like the idea of owning an original piece of clothing. When you buy a dress shirt or any other item of clothing in a department store there are hundreds or thousands of people out there wearing the exact item of clothing.

With a custom made dress shirt you know that what you have is special because it is not mass produced for the general public. I think this piece of knowledge gives a person a little more confidence, and makes him or her stand out from the crowd, which can be a god thing in his or her professional and personal life.


@Feryll - I understand what you are saying about getting the perfect fit with these bespoke dress shirts, but all things considered, I prefer the convenience of buying straight from the stock available in the stores. The average store will have a good selection of styles and colors, so finding a shirt you like most likely will not be difficult.

Also, some of the more expensive shirts in the stores are as good of quality as the bespoke ones. You only need to know your size and make sure you get the shirt that fits you best.


I will definitely choose the bespoke men's dress shirts every time. Except there is one little problem; I can't afford them. I would much rather have these tailored shirts. I think most people would. And I wouldn't have any problem waiting a bit longer to receive the special made shirts. With these shirts, I would be getting exactly what I wanted, not the best items I could find in the stores.

For me, it is a matter of money. Like I said, I can't afford the special made shirts, so I buy my shirts off the rack. I have recently discovered that the fitted dress shirts have some qualities similar to the tailored ones, so I buy them most of the time now.

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